Oral History Awards

Victorian Community History Award

Established in 1998, the Victorian Community History Awards are held annually to recognise the contributions made by Victorians in the preservation of the state’s fascinating history, published during the previous year. Presented by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the awards celebrate the people involved in community history projects who are dedicated to telling local stories which help all Victorians to better understand their past.

Image courtesy of State Library of Victoria, Argus, ca 1940/1946, Women troops returning to Australia


In 2019 the Victorian Community History Awards initiated an oral history award within their set of prizes, and OHV decided it did not make sense for there to be two almost identical Victorian awards – so OHV got together with the Victorian Community History Awards people and devised a single award developed, supported and judged in partnership.

Recipient of the 2022 award

Oral History Victoria warmly congratulates Nat Grant for receiving the Victorian Community History Oral History Award for Prima Donna Podcast, bringing to life the personal histories and creative work of Australian elder women artists. Each beautifully-produced podcast focuses on one woman’s artistic life story, using extended extracts from oral history interviews with the artist overlaid with an evocative original sound track produced by Nat Grant. We learn what brought each woman to art, the twists and turns of her creative endeavour, the challenges of being an artist and a woman, and why art matters, for them and for all of us. There are now six seasons of Prima Donna Podcast, each featuring three women artists, and together these sonic portraits illuminate the extraordinary but often neglected lives and works of women artists. See https://www.primadonnapodcast.com/

Composite image of Nat Grant and women interviewed for Prima Donna podcast

Image from Prima Donna Podcast, courtesy of Nat Grant.

Other nominees shortlisted for the 2022 award

We offer our warm congratulations to the following projects shortlisted for the Oral History Award in 2022.

In The Benalla Experiment (a podcast program for ABC Radio National’s ‘The History Listen’), Producer Lyn Gallacher and Sound Engineer Richard Girvan highlight the lives of women and children who were housed in the Benalla Migrant Camp from 1949 – 1967, a site that was home to approximately 60,000 European post WW2 migrants over the decades and specialised in accommodating ‘unsupported’ mothers and their children. The program and linked website bring to life the experiences of those who lived in the camp, and highlight the more carefree memories of the children in contrast to those of their mothers who recall poverty, hardship and the trauma of war. The poignant and beautifully-produced program, together with the archive produced by local camp history volunteers, ensure that these memories enrich and complicate our understanding of Australia’s post-WW2 migrant experience. See https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-history-listen/benalla-migrant-experiment/13805104

The Flemington Kensington (Flem-Ken) Community Legal Centre Storytelling Project, produced by History at Work and Malcolm McKinnon, is a fiercely political oral history of a disadvantaged community and the life-changing advocacy of its community legal centre across forty years. The project website includes a roll call of activists, a timeline of the Centre’s history, and a short film and booklet about 40 Years: Challenging the System. The film and the booklet include rivetting extracts from interviews with community members and Centre workers, and together they explain how the Centre has challenged police violence and racial profiling, advocated for migrants and ethnic communities, and supported victims of domestic violence. See https://flemkenlegal.org/storytelling-project

Alexandra Pierce’s project, Women’s History Month: A series of interviews, provides a glimpse into the largely unheard stories of Melbournian women who protested against conscription and the Vietnam War. The culmination of years of interviews with over 20 women, the blog present short interviews excerpts released daily during History Month in 2022. The project addresses gaps in official war history by capturing voices of dissent and women’s experiences within the anti-war movement. It’s a wonderful example of the impact, significance and importance of grassroots community projects driven by passionate oral history practitioners. See: https://randomalex.net/2022/02/28/womens-history-month-series/

Past winners of the award

Please click the links below for information about past winners and shortlisted entries.